megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Are the tipjar paypal buttons annoying or causing anyone trouble with their reading or their f-list reading? Because if it is, I'll take the buttons off. If not, I'll leave them because I could REALLY use some money in the tipjar right now and I want people to very easily be able to find where to do that if they feel so inclined.

So, thoughts, anyone?
megwrites: A pair of brown glasses on a worn wooden table with a shadowed white wall in the background. (glasses)
1. Hello f-list. I am alive and all. Right now, if anyone wanted to be sort of writing buddies, I'd really love that. What I mean by writing buddies is that it would be nice if I could send some sample pages from a few things I'm working on to some people and ask "is this crap? does anything work?" and maybe toss around some ideas in my head and have someone poke holes or tell me if I'm doing the same thing EVERY writer in the genre has done since 1975 or something. Especially those who read this genre and are willing to be really brutally honest.

I am OF COURSE willing to reciprocate fully, and even willing to read long or full drafts of short stories, novellas, novels, etc. Seriously.

I'm sort of looking to establish a relationship of "we can pick apart each other's stuff and be friends and maybe even be friends outside of writing". If that makes sense and doesn't sound terribly pathetic.

I know I had beta readers for other novels, but I feel bad calling on them again. Especially since they read an entire book to help me out. That's a lot of pages.

So, drop a message, comment, anything.

2. Mental health is adjusting still since I'm on Lexapro now. It's not been long enough to know if this is The One or not. Also: I may need to talk to mental health person about maybe an ongoing anti-anxiety med rather than just an anti-depressant. For reasons.

3. Re: my last post (which was like two weeks ago). I have no issue with fanfic becoming original fic. I just have issue when the fic in question isn't the good stuff. I come from fandom, and I can tell you that fandom has some really lovely literature to offer. Especially since fandom can be where fans really take their source material and twist it into lots of unexpected shapes and fill in the giant holes and talk about the issues with the original material.

If we had to do a Twilight-based fic-to-original novel, why couldn't be one of the ones where we make Bella the vampire who stalks high school loner Edward or one of the ones where we queer the fuck out of everything and see how it works when they're not all white folks. Or where the writer doesn't utterly fail when it comes to the Quileute people (a whole novel about the Quileute people, even!)

Anyway, we'll talk no more about it, unless anyone feels a driving need to.

4. Anyone have links on how fountain pen converters work or what they are and when/if you need them? I still want to get a fountain pen (maybe I'll ask for one for X-mas this year) but I'd like to know more. Though, I will say my $3.50 little disposable Varsity pen has done okayish. It skips sometimes and if you have the wrong kind of paper it feathers like a shedding goose, but otherwise, not bad.

4. SEE HOW GOOD I AM AT MATH! This is probably why the teller jobs I applied for aren't calling me back. Also, if you ever want to apply to be a bank teller, set aside like FIFTEEN HOURS IN YOUR DAY and get a really good calculator. I did that last week and that shit was like a freaking math test where you have not only do math real good, but try to sell people financial services. In retrospect, it's probably mutually beneficial that I didn't get a callback.
megwrites: Dualla from BSG. Dualla > EVERYONE ELSE.  (dualla)
Is there a comm or somewhere in Dreamwidth where a person wishing to make/modify their layout can go and ask specific questions?

Just wondering. Because I'd like to modify my layout but can't right now because I'm not sure how.
megwrites: A moon rising above a darkened landscape in front of a starry night sky. (moonrise)

1. "Malinda has statistics! I have theories!" - via [ profile] rachelmanija. Pretty straightforward, relating to Malinda Lo's very telling stats about inclusivity and representation in YA fic, with thoughts on lit YA vs. SF/F Ya. One day, I'd also be interested to see what the numbers come out as if you did this with adult SF/F, especially since a lot of adults want to preach at young folks that "it gets better" - but judging by the shelves it gets worse when you transition to adult fic.

2. Why Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is the Ultimate White Guilt Fantasy by K. Tempest Bradford. A great read and a fantastic, in-depth analysis of the movie. It contains some spoilers, in case you're concerned about that. Honestly, every moment she mentions is a moment where I rolled my eyes at the movie.

3. A List of (some) PoC SF/F authors - The various genres and formats are mixed here. Some work mainly in short stories, others are novelists, some are YA authors, some adult, some both. I can't vouch for all the works by all the authors, and it certainly is not an exhaustive list. I also acknowledge that the term PoC is a bit problematic/less helpful once you get out of white-dominated countries. However, this list could be a good stepping off point for readers who want to get some less white/Western/Euro-centric SF/F in their literary diet.

Not Relevant to Anyone But Me Writing-Mental Health Thought of the Day: Part of my problem re: feeling utterly unable to get past my mental blocks in writing is that I keep asking "why does this story even matter" and "what's the point in telling this story" and I keep getting the chirping cricket noise in my head.

Part of me is searching for justification for my writing, I suppose. When I'm plotting out or writing a story I can't help but ask myself why? What's important enough about it that it merits writing - but then I can't help thinking that by my own rhetoric, 99% of the books I read and love aren't "important" enough to be written. They're not about Deep Social Issues or Important Giant Ideas, they're just...stories. People's stories. Fun stories. Fantasies. Explorations.

But is that enough?

I also think it may help when my meds get switched. I can say that for me, Effexor does. not. work. I can see how others would benefit, so don't take my experience as a recommendation or anti-recommendation. I just know that I need to get off it and I'm deathly afraid of what my brain will do. I once skipped two days in a row of taking it and my brain went into what I can only describe as an epic and frightening electrochemical hydroplane.

As always, anyone who wants to talk brain chemistry and writing, comments are open.

Oh! Oh! Oh! Before I forget: I'm looking for a writing partner(s) who wouldn't mind hashing out raw ideas and taking a look at raw drafts (just a few pages or paragraphs here and there, not a whole manuscript or anything). I of course would want to reciprocate and would do the same for anyone who wanted it!

You can message, comment, etc.

How does one make the different parts of the sidebar (ie - the modules) different colors. Let's say one wanted to make each sidebar part a different color so that it made a rainbow. Which means that the box with the username and userpic is red and the box with the navigation is orange. Because let's say one loves rainbows in all the senses, including the delightfully queer ones.

How would one accomplish this via CSS? I ask because I got a new layout and I like the spacing, I just want to fiddle around with the colors some.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
You thought I forgot didn't you?


The next three chapters of The City of the Hand are live! They're up and ready to read either here at Dreamwidth ([personal profile] cityofthehand) or over at the LJ mirror of the novel ([ profile] cityofthehand)!

We're getting very, very close to the end now. This is the second to last update. Next week (probably on Friday) will be the final three chapters and then on July 1st I'll have the entire ebook file (in PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats, god willing) ready for people to download if they like.

Also, if anyone was thinking or considering about putting into the tip jar, please do. Money's gotten a little tight with a few medical bills and also Ye Old Car becoming very ye and very old and at the end of it's lifespan a few extra dollars would be really welcome right about now. Again, it's not as urgent as some folks who need money, but if you had any hankering to put any little bit into the tip jar, now would be a real great time to do that.

It comes with benefits! If you want to get the complete ebook file (in format of your choice) before July, any amount of money will do.

If you donate $25 or more, you get a short story, essay, poem, or other creative work from me. So if you like certain characters, want to revisit certain places, or just want to know some stuff that isn't in the story, put your cash in the tip jar and request away. How many times do you get to tell the author what you want to have written? I'll even try to draw the characters if you like. I make no promises about the quality of the resulting art, however.

Even if you don't have or just don't feel like putting money in (understandable), if you liked the novel even a little, tell a friend! Share a link! Write a review! I'd love to see anyone's honest, over all opinion. And I always welcome criticism, critique, and comments.

So I hope you've enjoyed taking this little journey in free fiction with me, and I hope most of all that you're enjoying this story. If nothing else, let it inspire you to know that if someone like me can write a whole damn book, you certainly can.
megwrites: Dualla from BSG. Dualla > EVERYONE ELSE.  (dualla)
So, I want to have a conversation about being a writer who's dealing with depression/anxiety. Or maybe other mental illnesses or psychiatric conditions - but mostly I want to talk about how writers deal with it.

Right now I'm trying to start new things, but I'm having an extremely hard time. It's hard for me to pay attention, first off. I have the approximate focused attention span of an over caffeinated howler monkey. Even with all the usual tricks (turning off internet connection, blocks on "time wasting" sites, getting rid of distractions on my desk), I have a hard time maintaining focus.

I don't know if this is depression or a symptom of something I've suspected I might have had for a long time (some form of attention disorder). It may explain why books are so damnably hard for me to read, even when I really want to read them. Right now I'm fighting my way through a book by an author that I like, a lot. It isn't that I'm not interested. It's that I can't make myself stay attentive to the words on the page for more than a few pages at a time.

Even as I'm writing this entry, my brain is telling me to get up and do a bunch different things (read that book! vacuum the living room! oh, a drawing we could be doing! call that appointment thing we're supposed to do! clean the desk! look up recipes! check email! make a list of things we need from the grocery! download that new album you wanted!) and I'm fighting it just to keep my thoughts together. Fighting hard.

Worse than the attention span problems are the "wow, this piece of writing is worthless, I am worthless as a writer" feelings which fill me with such utter despair that I can't find a reason to fight against the avalanche of inattentiveness to keep going. I think to myself, "This is so uninteresting, no one will ever want to read this" or "everyone else has done this idea and done it better". I become convinced that my story is so unimportant, bland, plotless, and unworthy that there's no use in continuing on with it.

And I realize some of these feelings are normal for a writer. Before my depression went to Defcon 1 and took a wrecking ball to my life, I had them. But back then I had these coping skills that seem to have vanished. Or I left 'em somewhere or they got lost in the move to North Carolina or ID-effin'-K, dude.

But to the point where I cannot even face writing, where I get in such a state of despair that it becomes a spiral of sadness, anxiety, and self-hate that it escalates into worse things...that's not normal. That's not okay for me to be doing. I don't want that.

I can't tell my editorial voice, which has legitimate reasons to say, "This scene is a bit boring, let's do something better here, what if they fought!" or "umm, I think every book in the genre has done this, why don't we change it up?" from my depression!voice. I know that those thoughts are helpful. Those are things that are my instincts letting me know where I can better tell the story I want to tell.

So for those out there who deal with these things, how do you deal? What are your coping strategies, how do you keep your writing and creative life on track even when your brain chemistry wants to derail ALL THE THINGS?
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Since I'm feeling in a fairly good mood, I thought I'd open the floor to any comments, questions, remarks, or any random thing you wanted to let me know. Feel free to vent, tell me about something that's going on in your life, let me know what's important to you. Feel like I've missed something or want to get my attention about something, now's the chance!

As a bonus, anonymous is turned on and IP logging is turned off. So feel free to let me know what you think. Anything at all. I'll pretty much respond to anything except really obviously trolling and hating. Actually, I might respond to those with mocking and a visit from Smooshy (the ban hammer of rage).

Okay, IP logging is still on, but everyone's got amnesty.
megwrites: A moon rising above a darkened landscape in front of a starry night sky. (moonrise)
Would having a livejournal mirror for [personal profile] cityofthehand be helpful and make it more accessible/readable to people or is everyone finding it easy enough to get to it on dreamwidth?


Apr. 28th, 2012 01:07 pm
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
OH MY GOD. Somebody put money in the tip jar for [personal profile] cityofthehand. OH MY GOD. I'm freaking out and having like hyperventilations of joy.

Whoever you are that put a tenner in the tip jar, I LOVE YOU FOREVER. I never thought anyone would, really. I only checked paypal on a lark. I was just glad to have the story out there and have a few people following it. Seriously. I just cannot even express how awesome this is.

I wrote a story and somebody liked it enough to give me money. This has never happened before.

This is seriously a big high point for me.

Also, my husband suggested that I offer those who put money in the tip jar the opportunity to get the entire novel as an ebook file (pdf or something) so they don't have to wait for the entire thing. Anyone think this is a good idea or not?

I kind of like the idea of having something to say, "Thank you person who put your hard earned money in my tip jar."

megwrites: A picture of a colorful spiral galaxy in space. (galaxy)
1. Half the letters requested are sent out and in the hands of the U.S. postal system. The other half should be in the mail by next Tuesday at the latest.

2. In case you missed yesterday's announcement, the first three chapters of my novel The City of the Hand are up at [personal profile] cityofthehand. Links, signal boosting, feedback, criticism, critiques, and dollars in the tip jar are all appreciated! Let me know if anything about the layout makes things hard to read or if another format would be more helpful for readers. I'm here to serve.

3. Thank you to everyone for the wonderful and kind birthday wishes. I love y'all so much. I really do. It really means a lot to me when people take the time to wish me a happy birthday. Wish you could be here to share in the booze and cake with me. Or, well, the food and drink of your choice!
megwrites: A pair of brown glasses on a worn wooden table with a shadowed white wall in the background. (glasses)
I've been on a letter writing kick, but I'm running out of folks to write letters to. So I'm asking if anyone wants letters from me.

Addresses, names, etc will be screened and kept strictly private unless you tell me otherwise. Feel free to ask me anything, request anything, or otherwise say what you want in your letter. (Or don't want). I'm willing to send anywhere in the world that can receive letters/post.

So, just let me know. You can also just say you want the letter sent to a pseudonym if you like. I don't need legal names, just a valid address. So if you want me to send a letter to Seymour Buttz of Butte, Montana, I will gladly do so.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (green hills)
1. I'm trying out the Pheonix client for Dreamwidth, so let me know if anything about this entry has turned out wonky or otherwise not as it should be.

2. My husband put the finished draft of my novel into .mobi format and loaded it on our shared Kindle. It was like it was a really real book. I'm tempted to now to just give it away and let people throw money into some kind of tip jar because, eeeee! It looked really nicely formatted and like a real book and everything.

3. I'm still figuring out how to organize that inclusive SF/F writer's group/writer's support and critique comm thing type dealie place majigger. Right now I'm thinking of drawing up a basic statement of beliefs and goals and letting people see if they like it.

A rough list of what the basic statement's tenents would be. I welcome and encourage feedback. Seriously. Talk to me, DW-verse! )

4. I am now consumed by the need to start researching ALL THE FLOWERS AND PLANTS because there's a story somewhere in my head. Not sure where it is, and it's not ready to come out yet, but like a seed opening underground, I know something is going to pop up soon with some sunshine, some rain, and some time.

5. I mentioned this on Twitter and Tumblr, but it's that season again. My birthday is in April and when I get my inevitable gift cards/birthday money, I'm gonna need book recs. My criteria (copied from Tumblr) are:

- Really awesome SF/F or urban fantasy/paranormal romance by authors of color and/or about protagonists of color. The less fail-y the better. God, but I need some good speculative literature right now.

- Steampunk that doesn’t fail.

- Ditto the above for authors who are queer, trans, have a disability, etc.

- Any awesome history books about non-European, non-White people centric history.

- Any books about journaling, drawing, or painting that have been helpful, especially for beginners who don’t have a lot of nifty tools at their disposal.

- Hot, steamy, queeralicious romance, erotica, etc. Will try out heterosexual pairings or situations where it breaks through norms and tropes or otherwise is something besides the same old, same old. Kink is a plus.

- Any good social sciences/culture books about topics relevant to my interests.

- Any good pop science books, particularly on physics, astronomy, astrophysics, biology, or chemistry. ETA: Botany and other natural sciences are good, too.

- Any other books that seem like they’d be right up my alley.

6. This is my dog on Youtube. This is her tail of adventure, action, and whirlwind passion. She is absurd in every possible way and extremely sweet and inordinately fond of citrus and eating cloth. I just wanted to brag about her because she's really cute and sleeping next to me. Yes, she is named after the book/movie but only because she was named "Cora" at the animal control place we adopted her from and we didn't like that. I wanted to name her Sharptooth.

7. I'm on Goodreads. Go add me so I won't be lonely? *sad woe face*.
megwrites: A pair of brown glasses on a worn wooden table with a shadowed white wall in the background. (glasses)
1. I need a beta-reader/critique partner or two (or three) for the novel I've finished revising. It isn't anything I've shown to anyone yet (besides my husband, which makes me question if letting your partner/spouse critique your manuscripts is strictly healthy for one's marriage).

It is in the 120,000 word neighborhood, it is adult fantasy. Not sure what subgenre of fantasy I'd stick it in. There's people with wings, a really big city, smart ass sorcerers, and an evil forest with trees that eat people. So, yeah. I'm willing to return the favor if possible.

Also, I need at least one person who is really savvy with gender neutral pronouns in English, as they get used frequently in this book because there are a lot of non-binary characters and the world they're in recognizes and commonly uses gender neutral pronouns, but I need to make sure that I did my research right and that I'm using them the way I hope I'm using them (that is to say: in a good way that will make sense to readers).

If these critiques could be on the faster side, that would also be good.

2. We're moving! The Hubs (my socially approved heterosexual life partner) has gotten a new job in Charlotte, North Carolina. We don't know where exactly in the city we're going to be living, but we do know we'll be there by July because he starts work on July 11th.

Which is great, but it also means that I don't know ANYONE in Charlotte, NC. So if anyone knows of any geeky folks or SF/F writer's groups or social justice type writing people that are down there, that'd be great. Because I really would like to, yanno, have friends. Maybe people to hang with.

But this also means we need to cover moving expenses and initial expenses because the new job is paying for exactly squat when it comes to moving and I'm going to be unemployed until I find something down there and going from NYC to North Carolina is a bit of a haul. And it costs money. A lot of money.*

So right now, given that I am once more unemployed, I am considering doing one of two things:

a) Singing (or writing) for my supper by taking requests for short fiction or putting the above novel that needs critiquing out there and seeing if anyone wants to contribute to the tip jar on the model AND/OR b) Selling off some books and blank journals that I've got.

So thoughts, opinions, and suggestions on that would be wonderful!

*FYI - This is why I get really, really pissy when anyone says "just move, go somewhere else if its so bad in your neighborhood/city/state!" when others try to talk about how poor resources, lack of jobs, cost-of-living, etc affect them where they live. It isn't just as simple as pulling up stakes and going somewhere. Unless you fancy leaving all your worldly possessions behind and sleeping on the first street you can find, you need resources to both leave the place you're at and to get established in the place you're going. Which requires a fair amount of privilege, both economic and otherwise.


Apr. 20th, 2011 05:08 pm
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
1. I'm looking for recs of SF/F and urban fantasy and paranormal romance that come from small presses. I'm thinking that maybe I might find more of the stuff I'm looking for from there. So any recommendations of books, presses, etc that would be good to check out, especially for diverse fiction would be great. I just...I'm getting to a point where the usual stuff in a genre that I like in principle is burning my brain.

2. A terrific post about Steampunk Post-Coloniality by [personal profile] jhameia.

3. A most excellent poem because it is still poetry month (via guerillamamamedicine):

I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies
By: June Jordan

Dedicated to the Poet Agostinho Neto,
President of The People’s Republic of Angola: 1976

I will no longer lightly walk behind
a one of you who fear me:
Be afraid.
I plan to give you reasons for your jumpy fits
and facial tics
I will not walk politely on the pavements anymore
and this is dedicated in particular
to those who hear my footsteps
or the insubstantial rattling of my grocery
then turn around
see me
and hurry on
away from this impressive terror I must be:
I plan to blossom bloody on an afternoon
surrounded by my comrades singing
terrible revenge in merciless
I have watched a blind man studying his face.
I have set the table in the evening and sat down
to eat the news.
I have gone to sleep.
There is no one to forgive me.
The dead do not give a damn.
I live like a lover
who drops her dime into the phone
just as the subway shakes into the station
wasting her message
canceling the question of her call:

fulminating or forgetful but late
and always after the fact that could save or
condemn me

I must become the action of my fate.

How many of my brothers and my sisters
will they kill
before I teach myself
Shall we pick a number?
South Africa for instance:
do we agree that more than ten thousand
in less than a year but that less than
five thousand slaughtered in more than six
months will

I must become a menace to my enemies.

And if I
if I ever let you slide
who should be extirpated from my universe
who should be cauterized from earth
(lawandorder jerkoffs of the first the
terrorist degree)
then let my body fail my soul
in its bedeviled lecheries

And if I
if I ever let love go
because the hatred and the whisperings
become a phantom dictate I o-
bey in lieu of impulse and realities
(the blossoming flamingos of my
wild mimosa trees)
then let love freeze me

I must become
I must become a menace to my enemies.
megwrites: Picture of books with quote from Cicero: "a room without books is like a body without a soul" (books)
For those who read the reviews of books that I post, I have a quick question and I didn't want to go through making a poll (it won't show up on the crosspost to LJ anyway).

In my reviews, do you think it would be better for me to copy and paste the book's official blurb or description or to continue coming up with my own summaries. Because I feel like my summaries of the basic plotline/premise of a book are kind of for the fail and I'm not sure I'm doing a good job of describing the book in a way that's useful to a review.

But then again, some of the official blurbs or descriptions of books also do a piss poor job of describing the ACTUAL story contained within the book, so I'm sort of torn. I feel like it might be easier or less spoilery or somehow better to just cut and paste, but I'm not sure. So I'm asking. Let me know what you think in comments if you have an opinion either way. And if not, let me know that too.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
Does anyone out there use writing software of any kind? Do you find it helpful or convenient or not?

If you don't use software, what kinds of methods do you use to keep track of things in the planning/outline stages (character sketches or random ideas or worldbuilding tidbits that pop in your head) or as you're writing, in whatever way or sequence you do that?

I'm wondering because I'm contemplating whether some kind of software will help my organizational skills as far as plotting and other behind-the-scenes things when writing. It's occurred to me that one of my problems is that I'm terribly disorganized and that sometimes makes writing and later editing a little bit more difficult. Also, being able to get an overall, organizational view of what I write might help me create a story that reads better, and that's sort of the point. Telling the best story in the best way possible.

I'm usually of the school of thought that when it comes down to it, writing shouldn't involve a lot of props or extra features, that it's basically about a person, some words, and the medium in which those words exist (electronically, pen and paper, etc).

But at the same time, I'm also of the school of thought that great stories aren't just dropped onto the page perfectly formed, and that the best ones are the result of a lot of planning, effort, and revising.

So, anyone?

ETA: For clarity's sake, I should mention I am using Mac, not PC! Sorry, forgot that that might be important.
megwrites: Picture of books with quote from Cicero: "a room without books is like a body without a soul" (books)
I'm backed up on reviews and I'm wondering how many per day would the folks on the f-list consider excessive?

Because I want to post them. There are a couple of books I'm really eager to discuss with the world at large (The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi, for one and Cast In Fury for another), but I don't want to overwhelm anyone.

So, what say you f-list?
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
I'm proud of myself. I've had jury duty the last two days and managed to get approximately 1100 words written long hand on Invisible!Book despite that and I'm moving on to another chapter, yay! Of course, I had lots of time to kill so maybe it isn't that amazing after all.

Sitting there getting all the nice speeches about how patriotic and necessary and heroic it is to serve on a jury, it occurred to me that a lot of industries and businesses have a "Bill of Rights". For instance, if you take taxi cabs in NYC you'll see a Bill of Rights for passengers.

Maybe what the publishing industry needs is a Bill of Rights for writers (published or unpublished), and agents. I think it might really help if there were a universal standard, especially considering that this is an industry that can, at times, make working relationships feel adversarial, as though the people who are supposed to be working together are working against each other.

If I were composing a bill of rights for the industry, some items I would add and reasons why )

So what say you, internets? If you were helping me draft this wonderful Bill of Rights, what would you add or take out?
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
All right, f-list, I want to hear from you. What's your week been like? Your month? Your year?

What projects are you working on that you're excited about it? What ideas have you just gotten?

Any great news in your life? Any sad news?

I feel like I haven't been keeping up the way I should, so please, stop by. Let me know how you're doing, what's going on in your life, your work, your world.

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